SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Education Association (IEA) is proud of its work that helped kill Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to shift the cost of pensions from the state to local school and community college districts and universities.
Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, introduced a resolution last year that stated the pension cost shift is “financially wrong” and would harm local school districts and taxpayers.
McSweeney approached the IEA for help in talking to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to build support for his measure because of IEA’s history of bipartisanship. Together, they were able to get 66 House members to sign on to the resolution in a show of force that effectively kills the Rauner pension cost shift.
“The pension cost shift would result in a massive increase in property taxes and would jeopardize education funding. I’m proud of the bipartisan coalition of 66 House members, and working with the IEA, to oppose this cost shift and do what’s right for the taxpayers and students of this state,” said McSweeney.
The resolution reads: “States the opinion of the Illinois House of Representatives that the proposed educational pension cost shift from the State of Illinois to local school districts, community colleges, and institutions of higher education is financially wrong.”
“If the state quits paying its portion of pension benefits and pushes it off to the local school districts, it strangles local school funding and harms students,” said IEA President Kathi Griffin. “We need to be looking for ways to provide more funding for our students, not taking money away from them to pay for state obligations.”
For decades, the IEA has been fighting for changes to the way Illinois schools are funded to create a more equitable formula that ensures a quality education for all students regardless of where they live. This summer the legislature passed a new school funding formula.
“It’s interesting that now you have the governor talking about shifting pension costs to local school districts and community colleges. While at the same time, Rauner continually tries to take credit for passing the historic school funding reform bill, even though he originally vetoed the bill,” Griffin said. “You can’t give with one hand and take away with the other. Rauner is not a friend of education. Our kids deserve more than this.”
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.